My Granny Clampett 'Cure'
So I'm in my 50s, and my speech is dramatically better than it was when I was in my 20s and younger. I still stutter every day, and Im sure I'll stutter until the day I die, but the improvement really is dramatic. I didn't go to college until I was 35, but when I did I was able to ask questions in class whenever I wanted to, and to do presentations in front of classes. I went on to grad school, where I regularly had to do presentations and engage in class discussion groups. I always had issues during those occasions, but never enough to really impede my delivery.
So what was my solution? It was much like Granny Clampett's cure for the common cold. For those who don't know, The Beverly Hillbillies was a popular sit-com in America during the 1960s. At the end of one episode, we learn Granny's guaranteed cure for the common cold - take her traditional hillybilly remedy, and then wait for two weeks.
So my 'cure' - or at least my improvement - was to wait 30 years. Now, I lead walking tours in the summer, and the people who take the tours frequently applaud and thank me at the end. I still stutter through the tours, but it's never so bad that it interrupts the talk.
So the good news for young people is that there is definite hope. The bad news is that if you never do anything about your stuttering - like me - it will be a long wait to get there.
So it just reduced for no apparent reason? Do you think it's a reduction because of a chemical or physical change in the brain as you got older, or did you just get more confident?
I'm also in my 50's and I would have to agree that getting older helps, but what really helped me is finding the right therapy that changed me from someone with a moderate stutter to a very mild one.
I now teach classes, do live webinars etc and few are even aware that I occasionally have a mild stutter.
Originally Posted by steric
I've seen reference to improvement in the post-30s years from other people. The truth is, I can't say why it happened. You could say that there's less social pressure when you get older, but that's just making up a story. And confidence is a chicken and egg thing. Why would I get more confident before my speech improved. In fact, I'd say the opposite happened - my speech got better, so I got more confident, and then did more public speaking.
I have to say that I'm suspicious of those middle aged stuttering therapy professionals who are stutterers and who stutter very little. It's possible that they improved their speech through their own therapy. Then again, they could be benefiting from just getting older, like me.
I've honestly been hearing other people say this too. I don't stutter very much at all when I'm in a loud environment like bars. I wonder if a small degree of hearing loss as you age has something to do with it or your voice changing as you age and your brain is less able to adapt to voice perception changes causing something similar to the choral effect.
I've also heard that older people are more successful with the speecheasy, but it's hard to tell.
I think that confidence is a huge factor in stuttering, and that confidence tends to increase with age. For instance, a person aged 17 may still be intimidated by eg. a salesperson or the lady selling movie tickets. When you are 47, however, you are probably much older and wiser than the salesperson or the ticket-selling lady. Perhaps you are also richer or more "successful" career-wise. You also may have kids, your own home and car and may be more independent and powerful compared to when you were a kid and dependent on your parents. Because of your improved social standing and/or psychological, age-related advantages you are not as easily intimidated. This confidence results in lower general stress levels, and so you stutter less.
Originally Posted by steric
Of course, when you haven't improved your social or psychological status you may not be able to develop this confidence.
A very great factor here is:
"I still stutter every day, and Im sure I'll stutter until the day I die..."
This is a good attitude, and a bad one, too.
Good, in that the desire for fluency has lessened, and that really does help.
A bad one in that it is self-defeating, as in the self-fulfilling-prophecy sense.
What you believe, is likely to come about.
There is a great deal in that one line. But how many people will see that?
Acceptance. Resignation. Poignancy. Fate...
The key is always being sure that the day will come, when fluency happens, while not hoping it will.
To let it go, while keeping a candle burning, just in case.
Last edited by crow; 04-02-2012 at 11:40 PM.
Acceptance is cure is embraced. Life is such a carzy journey and you never will know where it will head. The answer my friend is blowing in the wind